Why Investors Should Lower Expectations For Making Money on Stocks

Vanguard, others predict bonds will rival single-digit returns on stocks; best bets are overseas.The era of big returns on stocks is over. It’s time for investors to recalibrate their expectations. That’s what many Wall Street firms and advisors are telling their clients.

Look for lower returns from U.S. stocks during the next decade compared with what has historically been the case, and expect U.S. bond returns that are on a par with equities. The best returns are projected for overseas stocks and bonds. Returns from most asset classes are projected to be positive.

“The next 10 years will be different than the last 10 years,” says Jim Masturzo, partner and chief investment officer of multi-asset strategies at Newport Beach, California-based Research Affiliates. “It will be more normal.”

Expect Single-Digit U.S. Stock Returns

With inflation at the highest levels in 40 years, against a backdrop of rising interest rates and a decline in valuations, long-term returns for U.S. equities are projected to be in the low- to mid single-digit territory. That’s compared with a historical yearly average of 12%-13% before inflation, and well below the nearly 16% average annual returns of the past decade.

This is clearly a whole new world to which investors are unaccustomed after decades of low inflation and the near-zero interest rates of the past 10 years. “Returns will be more muted compared with history and especially the past two years, especially for equities,” says Roger Aliaga-Diaz, head of portfolio construction and chief Americas economist at The Vanguard Group.

Bond Returns to Rival Stocks

On the brighter side, bonds are seen giving equities a run for their money, as fixed-income returns are projected to rival those of stocks.

“Bond market returns could equal equity returns with less risk,” says Joseph Carson, economic consultant and former chief economist at AllianceBernstein. Returns on stocks in the next decade will appear “minuscule” at 4%-5%, he says, mainly because “equity returns for three of the last four decades were far above average.”

Stocks benefited from declining inflation and lower bond yields in the 1980s. Stable inflation and expectations of “a new era of long cycles of growth and earnings” pushed stock returns higher in the 1990s. And “in the decade ending 2020 it was zero rates and inflated market multiples” that led to outsize gains in stocks, says Carson.

A line chart showing rolling annualized 10-year returns between 1971 and 2021.

The Lost Decade

The outlier decade proved to be 2000 through 2009, a period that included the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as two punishing recessions and accompanying bear markets that dragged down returns and set the stage for easy money conditions. In what became known as the Lost Decade, stocks delivered a negative annualized total return of 0.95%, the only decade outside the Great Depression in which total returns for the period were negative.

At the start of the decade, a bubble in technology, telecommunications, and media stocks burst, resulting in a recession and the bear market of 2000-02, when stocks fell nearly 50%.

Not long afterward came the global financial crisis of 2007-09, precipitated by a housing meltdown brought about by banks and mortgage companies extending credit and making nontraditional interest-only and adjustable-rate loans to high-risk borrowers that were then packaged into mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations and sold as stable and safe investments.

With home prices skyrocketing, the Federal Reserve started raising rates to cool the market, which prompted a wave of mortgage defaults and a subsequent liquidity crisis. The result: the deepest and longest-lasting recession since World War II. Stocks fell about 55%. The unemployment rate more than doubled.

The interventions to rescue the financial system and the economy during the crisis introduced ultraloose monetary policies that were reintroduced more recently during the pandemic crisis of 2020, creating a boom in asset prices and driving inflation to the highest levels since the 1980s. Aiming to rein in spiraling prices, the Fed has boosted the federal-funds rate six times this year at an aggressive pace and plans to continue until it sees clear signs that inflation is abating and heading back to its target rate of 2% from more than 8%.

That’s driven up yields on bonds, driving their prices lower, and sent stocks sliding. No one expects inflation and interest rates to stay at current levels over the next 10 years, but they will be at higher levels than has been the case in the past decade. And that will affect valuations.

The Case for Bonds

“Definitely, the case for bonds in the portfolio is coming back,” says Aliaga-Diaz of Vanguard. “Higher yields make the case for bonds stronger.” Over the next 10 years, Vanguard is forecasting annualized nominal returns, that is before adjusting for inflation, on U.S. equities of 4.7%-6.7% and U.S. bonds at 4.1%-5.1%.

Research Affiliates projects annualized nominal returns on U.S. equities of 2.3% over the next decade. Its forecast for U.S. bonds is 5.1% on an annualized nominal basis. Morningstar Investment Management projects U.S. stocks will deliver 5.5% in annualized nominal returns and 4.8% for U.S. bonds.

A grouped bar chart showing forecasts for annualized asset class returns over the next 10 yrs from Morningstar, Vanguard, and Research Affiliates.

Of course, stock and bond returns will vary from year to year, but these long-term annualized forecasts provide a gauge that helps firms construct diversified asset-allocation portfolios that can be tailored to optimize returns for different risk tolerances.

Investment firms also calculate these projections in real terms, which means they factor inflation into their models in addition to other variables such as valuations, earnings growth estimates, and dividend yields to obtain a more accurate assessment of potential total returns. Still, it has become standard practice for firms to issue forecasts in nominal terms because that is what is reflected in client accounts.

As Vanguard’s Aliaga-Diaz explains: “If you start with a $1,000 investment in 2022 and your portfolio returns 10% in nominal terms in 2023, your account will be $1,100. In real terms, your account would be worth $1,080 measured in 2022 dollars.”

Many investors may be gun-shy about embracing bonds, burned by steep double-digit losses this year in their portfolios at a time when stocks fell into a bear market.

The popular investment strategy of structuring portfolios with a mix of 60% stocks and 40% bonds to achieve attractive risk-adjusted returns with lower volatility, the so-called 60/40 portfolio, failed to provide the diversification and balance that made it a tried-and-true investment approach for so long, delivering 10.6% average annual returns for the past 40 years.

The Morningstar US Moderate Target Allocation Index, which serves as a benchmark for the 60/40 strategy, is down 17.53% this year, while the Morningstar US Market Index is down more than 21%. But what worked so well for so long will work again, say strategists.

“There is a fear and concern that what we saw this year with stocks and bonds coming down together represents a new regime,” says Aliaga-Diaz. “But we will get back to the normal relationship.”

That view has been echoed by others, including Morgan Stanley’s chief cross-asset strategist Andrew Sheets, who has forecast a 10-year annualized return of 6.2% for the strategy. “While we do expect the 60/40 portfolio to deliver lower risk-adjusted returns compared with those over the last four decades, that doesn’t mean it is broken,” he wrote in a report issued this summer.

Starting Points Matter

A key driver of these forecasts comes down to prices: Lower prices point to higher implied returns. “Starting prices matter,” says Philip Straehl, global head of research and investment management at Morningstar Investment Management. “U.S. valuations have improved dramatically in the last 12 months. There’s been significant repricing in the U.S. equity markets.”

That’s even more true internationally, where stocks have had the added burden of coping with the strong U.S. dollar and weakened local currencies on top of inflation and rising rates. Strategists say developed and emerging markets represent the best opportunities for the highest returns.

Morningstar Investment Management forecasts stocks in developed international countries will return 9.4% annualized over the next decade. For emerging markets, the expectations are even rosier at 11.8%. Vanguard’s outlook for stocks in developed international countries is for annualized total returns of 7.2%-9.2%, and 7%-9% in emerging-markets equities. Research Affiliates is forecasting 13.1% returns annualized for emerging markets over the next 10 years and 12.6% annualized for developed international markets.

“Our recommendation would be to look outside the U.S.,” says John Thorndike, co-head of asset allocation at Boston-based investment manager GMO, which bases its outlook on a seven-year investing time frame. “If you are going to take equity risk, take the bulk of it in non-U.S. value stocks. We think you should take the risk. These stocks are attractive.”

By:

Source: Why Investors Should Lower Expectations for Making Money on Stocks | Morningstar

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Diet Culture: Will We Ever Stop Obsessing About Our Weight?

Blame evolution on our obsession with our weight.Credit:United Press International Photo

It’s a secret shame that countless women feel, but only rarely admit to. “Am I betraying my feminist self by believing I don’t look good in clothes until I lose weight?” a girlfriend texted me a few weeks ago, after agonizing about the fact that she is now a few kilos heavier than she usually is. “I feel like shit about this. I would die if I had a girl and she said that to me.”I feel the same. My friend only told me this (I’m fairly certain) because I’d previously confided in her my own squirmy thoughts about my weight.

Like the shame I feel about having wasted years tallying how much dessert I’ll let myself have or how I feel about myself according to how tight my jeans’ waistband is on any given day. How is this possible, I’ve long wondered, when I’m intelligent enough to know that my culture has brainwashed me into wanting to look thin? And when I know that spending that time on literally anything else would enrich my life, instead of mentally strangling it?

“It’s super common … and a huge part of the difficulty that some people can have psychologically because they feel it’s mutually exclusive,” says Melbourne-based clinical psychologist Stephanie Tan-Kristanto, who has helped many people work through these feelings. “[They think] ‘I must be really terrible, or a bad person because I’m having these thoughts, and I shouldn’t be having these thoughts because I’m too intelligent to be worrying about body image issues’.”

It is an under-acknowledged water-dripping discomfort that many women – and to a lesser extent, men – experience. Because while the destructive nature of eating disorders has long been studied, the embarrassment and shame that come from an unshakeable desire to have a smaller body – when it isn’t accompanied by disordered eating, obsessive exercising, an inability to focus on vocational studies or career, or other signs of a clinical disorder – has not.

If anything, these feelings are getting harder to battle, says Tan-Kristanto, as an increasing amount of celebrities are giving us the expectation that 50 or 60-year-olds can still look, respectively, 30 and 40.And the impact can be significant, and lifelong.

“I think it’s really bad for one’s self-esteem because I’m constantly saying to myself, ‘I’m not good enough, my body’s not good enough, my legs are too big, my stomach’s too flabby’,” says one friend of mine, a 47-year-old entrepreneur and mother of two who has been fighting these feelings for the last 35 years (since she was 12 and her parents told her she was “chubby”). Though she’s long been a healthy weight, and enjoys a wide variety of activities including surfing and dancing, she says: “I can see the amount of time I’ve wasted in my life dieting, and thinking about food so much and counting calories.”

They’re feelings Tan-Kristanto hears a lot from patients, particularly those who present with depression and anxiety. “The shame is a feeling that you are defective,” she says. But there’s a reason so many of us have these feelings: evolution.

“Our brains are hard-wired to be Velcro for negatives and Teflon for positives, so we’re naturally our own biggest critics, regardless of how intelligent or educated we are in many ways,” says Tan-Kristanto, a director of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association. “Our survival and ability to continue living and thriving as a species requires us to be more aware of the dangers in our life. So we need to look for the threats in our life to be able to survive and reproduce.”

In “caveman days” the risk was a sabre-tooth tiger. In modern times, it’s anything that can threaten our ability to fit in, get our next job and find a great partner.

“And all of those things are absolutely related to our weight, and humans being a social species, you know our survival and our thriving is in many ways related to how well we fit in cultures. Obviously the expectations of how we look or what we weigh varies across different cultures and different time periods. But it’s still a universal thing that our appearance and our weight is associated with society accepting us, and fitting into cultures.”

I’d always assumed this is something I’d inevitably age out of, especially once I hit my 60s or 70s.Turns out, not necessarily. “She was in her 80s,” says one woman I know, of a woman she knew who was in debilitating pain. It had become so bad that this elderly woman could barely walk. There was a remedy. A particular medication that would alleviate her pain and give her back the use of her legs. No dice. “It came with a possible two-kilo weight gain,” says the woman I know, explaining why the woman in her 80s rejected the treatment, citing her appearance.

Intense fear of gaining weight is just one indication, says Tan-Kristanto, that a person has moved away from a “somewhat helpful” focus on being healthy to “mal adaptive” behaviours that require psychological intervention. Others include: extreme dissatisfaction with body image, “really low self-esteem”, feeling depressed as a result of appearance, avoiding social situations that involve food, repetitive dieting, skipping meals or fasting and exercising even when injured.

As for the rest of us? We need to do our best to drop our shame. “You can be really intelligent and educated, and understanding of the pressures that society puts on you, and you can still struggle sometimes with body image,” says Tan-Kristanto. Accepting this, she says, frees us up to focus on other parts of our life.

“It helps us to be a little more understanding and compassionate, so we’re not fighting things as much, and not being as stuck or fused with those thoughts. It helps us to look at the bigger picture of things.” So does fighting the stigma of our feelings, by sharing them with friends. “I wouldn’t underestimate the value of [having a friend] say, ‘Thank god, it’s not just me’.”

Samantha Selinger-Morris

 

By: Samantha Selinger-Morris

Source: Diet culture: Will we ever stop obsessing about our weight?

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5 Myths About Classroom Management in PBL

I want to make something clear before we dive into this topic. I made huge mistakes in classroom management as a teacher. I let certain disruptive behaviors go unchecked because I was tired and I didn’t want to put out another fire. I had moments when I shamed a student or yelled at a class.

I won’t even use the term “raise my voice” which sounds nicer. I yelled. Each time, I apologized and continued to grow. But the reality remains: I had tons of moments when I failed in this area. So, I feel a certain reticence when tackling the question, “How do I handle classroom management in a PBL unit?”

And yet, I also realize that my mistakes, as cringe-worthy as they may be, were also learning experiences. Teaching is an iterative process filled with experiments. I believe we can learn as much from the failures and mistakes as we can from the successes. So, with that in mind, I’d like to share what I learned about PBL and classroom management from my twelve years teaching middle school and my last three years working with new teachers who want to try out PBL but are nervous about the classroom management implications.

Why Classroom Management Matters

When I was new to project-based learning, people told me to “embrace the chaos.” I tried my hardest to embrace this mindset. Our class would be a vibrant space filled with noise and chaos and movement. I told students that during our project time, they could go wherever they wanted to go and talk whenever they wanted to talk.

This lasted three days.

I had students wandering around the classroom for the entire class period, socializing with friends and never actually working on their projects. The room became ear-splittingly loud. Meanwhile, I became edgy. The chaos felt off-task at best and unsafe at worst. At one point, another teacher walked into my classroom and said, “Why did you kick Alejandro out of class? He’s normally so quiet.” But the thing is, I hadn’t kicked Alejandro out. He had walked away because he felt anxious in the chaotic space.

Alejandro wasn’t alone. I printed up a quick survey (these were the pre- Google Forms days) to see how students felt about the classroom environment. Two-thirds described having a hard time concentrating on their work.

The next morning, I had coffee with my mentor and lamented, “I thought the project was authentic. I thought I could create a student-centered environment. I thought they would just know how to behave during a project like this. But, I don’t know, maybe I’m not able to create that kind of environment.”

He furrowed his eyebrows and said, “You ever work on a project when you’re at Starbucks?”

I nodded.

“Okay, watch the people in Starbucks. What trends do you see?”

I described people sitting at the tables and occasionally standing at a tall table. They moved to get coffee, to use the restroom, and to order items. However, they weren’t running around. Instead, it was relaxed.

Although the environment was noisy, it was mostly due to the work of grinding coffee and blending beverages. Most people were talking at a reasonable volume. They followed unspoken norms that allowed for communication and work. He then challenged me to think of all the spaces where I had done my best individual and collaborative projects. These were spaces designed for communication, deep thinking, and deep work. Some of these spaces were silent and others were loud. However, they were all spaces where I could focus.

I realized something critical at that moment. If we want students to engage in authentic projects, we need to design systems and structures that facilitate collaboration and creativity. For all the talk of “embracing chaos,” it turns out classroom management is a vital part of authentic PBL.

Myths About Classroom Management and PBL

The following are some of the common myths about classroom management and PBL.

Myth #1: Structure ruins creativity

This was the myth I bought into when I first embraced the PBL process. Like I mentioned before, I created a classroom environment free of constraint. Go where you need to go. Be as loud as you need to be. Take the John Mayer route and run through the halls of your high school and scream at the top of your lungs (yes, I just paraphrased John Mayer).

This came from a genuine recognition that school structures are often arbitrary and overly restrictive. However, I had gone to the opposite extreme of classroom management anarchy. I mistakenly believed in a false dichotomy between student ownership and classroom expectations.

Reality: Well-designed structures facilitate creativity

Architects often design spaces with two competing goals: craft spaces to reflect the way people will use them (starting with empathy) and create spaces that will create desired behaviors. Take Panera, for example. The physical layout reflects the need for both open and closed spaces with plenty of “breathing room.” They designed it to reflect the way people actually like to collaborate (the empathy-driven approach). However, they also have visual cues and physical structures that lead you toward specific locations the moment you walk in the door.

The same should be true of the structures in a PBL classroom. As educators, we can work like architects designing the structures that will facilitate creativity. We can start with the empathy-driven approach by asking “What would this be like to experience this as a student?”  It can help to imagine you are a student and spend some time thinking through what you might think and feel during an entire PBL Unit. You might even create student surveys to gauge what students need in order to thrive in a PBL environment.

From there, we can design systems that fit the needs of our students. For example, students need to move and they need to have the chance to stand up. However, they also need the opportunity to focus without distraction. So, we can create standing centers at the edges of the classroom. We can create physical pathways that allow for movement of materials.

However, we can also embrace the ideas of UX Design to guide students through the process. Students should be able to know where to find materials and where to go to get help. This goes beyond the physical structures. Students need to have pedagogical structures for things like brainstorming, ideating, research, and collaborative decision-making.

Myth #2: You need tons of transitions or students will be off-task

This was one of my biggest fears when starting out on my PBL journey. I had always transitioned every 15-20 minutes to prevent students from getting bored and checking out. I kept my lessons fast-paced with tight deadlines. So, when I switched to a project-based approach, I initially broke tasks down for students and kept the same tight time deadlines.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was creating a stop-and-go approach to projects. Although I wanted students to work quickly, they never truly hit a place of deep concentration because we were frantically moving from task to task, only to stop, wait for directions, and move on.

Reality: Students need to engage in deep work to hit a state of flow

Students actually accomplished more when we took out the transitions and focused on longer stretches of time to engage in the project work. This is a key idea behind what Cal Newport describes as “deep work” (I highly recommend the book), where people spend 1-3 hours without distractions. Here, they often hit a state of creative flow, where they attain hyper-concentration and fixate on their work. When this happens, they learn at a deeper level and they retain more of their knowledge.

But these moments of flow, whether they are in groups or individually, can also work as preventative classroom management. When students focus on their projects, they are less likely to disrupt the learning.

Myth #3: An engaging project means you won’t have discipline issues

When I look back at my worst moments as a teacher (those times when I shamed a student or yelled at a class), it was almost never during a project. A well-constructed project is one of the best preventative classroom management strategies. However, it’s a myth to think that you can focus on the pedagogy and ignore classroom management. Even in your best PBL units, you will have discipline issues you need to deal address.

Reality: You need clear expectations

When you first launch a PBL unit, you will likely have students who have never experienced project-based learning. They will need to know how it works and what they are expected to do. Because it’s so different (more collaborative work, more creativity, and often more hands-on learning) you will need to clarify the expectations.

You might need to generate a list of rules or norms together with your students. You will likely need to model and practice procedures with your students. The goal is to make it clear, visual, and memorable for students. Although this can feel less exciting than the actual project, it’s actually a vital part of the process.

Myth #4: PBL classrooms are noisy all the time

I get it. Some tasks are inherently noisy. It’s hard to have students doing physical prototyping in silence. The class is going to get noisy during the collaborative part of ideation. However, a project-based classroom doesn’t have to reach a deafening volume all the time.

Reality: The noise should never get in the way of the learning

It’s easy for one group to get louder and then other groups start talking louder until it slowly creeps to a level that prevents groups from working effectively. This is why it’s okay to have expectations of a general volume level during collaborative work. I’ve seen teachers use volume level charts (like a noise meter). When I taught middle school, I would do a thirty-second silent time-out when the noise got too loud. It worked like a reset button.

It also helps to create moments of strategic silence throughout a project. You might start the class period with a silent warm-up and end with a silent reflection. Or you might break up the project process to have students engage in silent thinking or quick writes to boost metacognition. You can also embed quiet individual tasks into the project process.

For example, students can engage in individual research to gain extra background knowledge. During the ideation process, students can brainstorm in isolation before meeting with their groups. They can also create their own SWOT assessments on their own before meeting with their groups to test and revise prototypes.

Myth #5: You need a system of punishments and rewards to keep group members accountable

We’ve all been there before. You do a group project and suddenly one member disappears. Another member has tons of opinions and ideas but doesn’t want to do any of the work. So, you end up doing the entire project by yourself. For this reason, it’s tempting to create rigid rules and consequences for group members in PBL units.

Reality: The best accountability is interdependence

There is a time and a place for external accountability. PBL expert Trevor Muir has students sign group accountability contracts at the start of each PBL unit. However, I’ve found that students are more accountable to one another when they have to work interdependently on their projects. Take, for example, this brainstorming strategy. Students actually benefit from listening to one another depending on each other for new ideas.

I often think of the LAUNCH Cycle as a roadmap for interdependent student ownership in creative projects. Here’s what this looks like:

  • Students tap into their own awareness and background knowledge during the Look, Listen, and Learn phase. Here, each member has the opportunity to share what they already know.
  • Students own the inquiry process as they ask specific questions in the Ask Tons of Questions phase. Each member can contribute their own questions to the entire group’s set of questions. Each member can add questions, regardless of their skill level or prior knowledge.
  • Students work interdependently to find specific facts in the research phase.
  • Students are generating their own ideas individually before engaging in the Navitage Ideas (group ideation) phase.
  • Each member of the group has a different role in the project management process and they all discuss progress collectively as a group
  • Every student has the opportunity to engage in assessment in the Highlight and Fix phase. I love the interdependence of the 20-minute peer feedback system here.
  • Being Proactive About Classroom Management
  1. Think about the procedures you will need to teach ahead of time.  What procedures and expectations will you need to teach ahead of time? How will students get materials? How will you handle noise? How will you handle movement? Are groups allowed to talk to one another? If so, what does that process look like? How will you handle students finishing at different rates? What kinds of “brain breaks” will you offer to students who need to walk away from their projects? How will you help students define these expectations together as a classroom community?
  2. Think about the space. How will you differentiate the space for different tasks? How will you design spaces for different types of learning? What will you do to encourage a free flow of movement? What visual cues will you create to help students navigate the space? What materials will you use? Where will you store these materials? Where will students put their physical products when they leave the class period (or move on to a new subject)? It helps hear to do an empathy exercise where you picture yourself as a student and ask what a student might be feeling or thinking.
  3. Think about the roles within the classroom. What types of group roles will you have?  How will your role change as a teacher? How will you spend your time when students are in the prototyping phase?
  4. Consider how you might communicate this shift to stakeholders. Are you comfortable having administrators and other leaders walking into your classroom during the prototyping phase? What kinds of fears might certain teachers face if they saw something that looked chaotic? What do you need to do to communicate the PBL process to parents/guardians, fellow staff members, and administrators?

Classroom management can actually be easier in a PBL classroom. With increased engagement and clear expectations, you often find yourself doing student-teacher conferences rather than redirecting behaviors. However, this requires an intentional, proactive classroom management plan. When this happens, all students are able to work collaboratively and creatively on the epic projects you have designed for them.

By: John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.More about me

Source: 5 Myths About Classroom Management in PBL – John Spencer

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Accelerate Customer Success And Brand Loyalty With Data

 

Recently, financial services and telecommunication providers have experienced significant challenges. They encountered digitally savvy competitors, increased expectations for online customer service (pre-and post-pandemic), and higher case volumes of agitated customers. Meanwhile, remote work affected the productivity of service staff, daily operations, and more. But they aren’t the only service-driven industries reacting to disruption and increasing consumer expectations.

Quality of service can mean the difference between keeping or losing customers, so organizations need to examine how, where, and when they engage with them. A single customer view looking at experiences across service, marketing, and commerce is essential. Unfortunately, many businesses struggle with disparate data and disconnected applications that obfuscate that view. That means service fulfillment and relevant technologies must step up to help organizations deliver more consistent, seamless, swift, and personalized experiences for customers who agree “good enough” service won’t suffice.

Transforming your service strategy and operations with data leads to better business results. A data-driven service approach is making a positive difference in the financial services and telecommunications industries and can also help your business achieve these benefits:

1. Enhanced, personalized customer experiences across all channels

2. More productive, empowered service agents influencing success

3. Increased efficiency, prioritization, and automation throughout service operations

4. Reduced IT complexity and costs leading to higher margins

The Risks Of Poor Customer Experience

If customers experience less-than-stellar service, there’s a greater risk of switching to competitors. In fact, 80% of consumers will switch after just one poor experience1—driving businesses to compete on more than price and choice. There are other serious downstream effects: increased customer churn, diminished reputation and trust, stalled growth, and attrition of employees, agents, or leadership.

Business circumstances can change instantly. Customer interactions can portend issues with serious implications (i.e., costly compliance or regulatory fines or sharp declines in satisfaction scores). Each problem puts a company at greater risk for stolen market share you can’t afford to lose.

With a commitment to data-driven and digitally driven service operations—from the contact center to the field—you are better positioned with customers and can reduce or eliminate most risks. In digital environments, engagement barriers are often reduced or eliminated allowing customers to gain more service access, and brands to gain increased opportunities for better customer service delivery.

How To Unlock Data And Transform Customer Service End-To-End

Transitioning to data-driven service starts with leaders’ commitment to building and maintaining a cohesive data strategy spanning people, processes, and technologies that support business resilience and future growth. The next step is unifying data sources with intuitive and flexible analytics to achieve a single source of truth.

When you infuse analytics across service operations (and the business), agents and leaders gain that invaluable, complete customer view to impact personal, swift, effective service, and transform the call center from a siloed operation to an agile changemaker that affects marketing, sales, product development, and more. Tangible results include:

For financial services…

· Up to 31% increase in customer satisfaction

· Up to 29% increase in agent and user productivity

· Up to 27% reduction in customer retention

For telecommunications…

· 37% faster time to resolution

· 55% decrease in cost to serve

· 53% increase in average revenue per user (ARPU)

Let’s examine the four benefits of data-driven service and relevant resources as you focus on protecting the bottom line.

1. Enhanced, personalized customer experiences across channels

 

Customers are precious business assets, so carefully nurturing and protecting each relationship is key. Regardless of how they engage, each expects a personal interaction resulting in swift resolution. Maybe there’s a service issue and they made several attempts to get help. Or maybe there’s an opportunity to upsell their existing products and services. Unfortunately, the siloed data systems sitting inside and outside of your organization’s customer relationship management (CRM) system make it more complicated to deliver best-in-class service.

Data, analytics, and AI are foundational to digital enterprises where functional insights drive positive business outcomes. According to McKinsey, many companies using data-driven practices report above-market growth of +15%2—especially in the B2B market, but the same practices apply to B2C enterprises.

Charles Schwab relies on data to answer financial planning questions, improve customer experiences, drive operational leverage, and more. Shifting from a static to dynamic customer view with Tableau helps their call centers, branches, and headquarters staff see data errors or inconsistencies and discover insights to make product adjustments so clients’ money goes further and their engagement stays positive.

“Now those receiving and handling the customer calls are making their own impact, helping maintain higher customer satisfaction levels. They’re transitioning into a role where they’re looking at the data behind customer engagement.” Senior Data Analyst, Charles Schwab

2. More productive, empowered service agents influencing success

When agents shift from system to system trying to access information and manually perform processes, customers feel and react to the effects of disengaged communication, fragmented experiences, and long wait times. They want meaningful interaction from service staff seeing a complete view of customer and business data to influence smarter responses and actions.

As noted in the “State of Service” report from Salesforce Research, 91% of customers say they’ll make another purchase if the service is good1. With intuitive analytics, your agents can access and catalog data, then analyze it for valuable and trusted insights, and also share it with others to act in customers’ best interests. Access to pre-built dashboards like Tableau’s Call Center Accelerator gives your service team deeper views of overall service levels and helps all business leaders analyze agent performance—good and bad. Feel confident knowing data is at their fingertips to make better, quicker decisions in all customer interactions.

workforce

Thousands of customers depend on internet, cable, and phone providers to deliver reliable service. When customers use these services, ample data is created and can be collected. Verizon analyzes it with Tableau to ensure customers are satisfied, problems get handled, and departments like marketing or call centers can see patterns and behaviors to improve service. A Center for Excellence is critical as they perform analyses, support data management, and deliver insights to stakeholders for improved decision-making.

“Insights from dashboards help us optimize call center operations to reduce multiple customer calls. Monitoring these timely dashboards shows us that as the resolution rate and satisfaction index of customers go up, volumes for calls and dispatches—key cost drivers—go down. Senior Manager of Data Analytics, Verizon

3. Increased efficiency and prioritization of more complex cases throughout service operations

Before 2020, contact centers could manage traditional customer demand and service spikes. But these spikes are usually short-lived and predictable versus the unforeseen changes and new expectations growing from digital engagement and the pandemic. With a smaller workforce also handling call center cases due to downsizing, data-driven technologies that support efficiency, prioritization, and automation are necessary to the experience equation—particularly for large, dispersed enterprises.

Today, interactive analytics with built-in AI help your staff confidently understand all customer data and service performance in their workflows, which helps them be more predictive and proactive when choosing how to act on behalf of customers. AI-powered analytics also fuel speed to insights for better contact routing, improved call center and field staff capacity, and automaton of more cumbersome, time-intensive processes.

For example, a single dashboard displaying call center KPIs in Tableau can help management see and know where to optimize operations—from streamlining or eliminating multisystem dependencies to automating low-value processes that hamper productivity and communication. This frees up service staff to help more customers and address more complex cases.

Inconsistent, fragmented data at Telstra made pipeline, revenue forecasting, and quicker delivery of new technologies to customers difficult. But the combination of Sales Cloud and CRM Analytics transformed how they deliver customers new solutions and measure business value. Sales Cloud provides a complete view of enterprise customers and enables sales to forecast and collaborate for more meaningful interactions. CRM Analytics also helps line of business managers and service staff stay focused on how to achieve their business KPIs.

4. Reduced IT complexity and costs leading to higher margins

By using a self-service solution like Tableau, gain highly configurable, manageable, and customizable analytics to increase performance clarity and create faster, more accurate business decisions or predictions. IT is no longer a bottleneck, and service operations staff, business analysts, and executives have a clear understanding with direct visibility of the customer journey and what factors extend or detract from success.

This can translate to better planning with staffing, forecasting, and seasonality to reduce service costs and maintain high-quality, year-round customer engagement.

Growing through mergers and acquisitions, strategic data became vital to business operations for JPMC. IT made data easily accessible for business teams through Tableau so domain experts could keep up with industry changes, regulations, and risks, and optimize for customer success. For example, marketing operations analyze the customer journey to inform promotional materials and products like the mobile application and branch managers examine retail data to implement better banking experiences.

“We put Tableau on our robust customer data sets…to quickly ask questions like ‘How many customers have a Freedom and a checking account, and use the mobile wallet.’ ” Director of Analytics, JPMorgan Chase

Embrace Data-First Service And Win With Customers

In the competitive, highly regulated environment facing financial services, telecommunications, and other industries, leading with data-first service creates a winning position. Grow and protect valued customer relationships with the help of a world-leading analytics solution like Tableau combined with Salesforce, the leading CRM, to connect with customers in more meaningful ways across every channel—every time.

 

Allison (Ally) Witherspoon Johnston, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing, Tableau. Allison leads the Tableau product marketing team and has worked at Salesforce

Source: Accelerate Customer Success And Brand Loyalty With Data

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Coinbase Losses Exceed Expectations As Sales Deteriorate

Leading crypto exchange Coinbase reported a Q2 net loss of just under $1.1 billion this afternoon, or $4.98 a share, as sales fell more than had been expected and the company’s company’s stock tumbled 6%.

The beleaguered exchange has been hit hard in recent months by a confluence of declining cryptocurrency market conditions, regulatory pushback and investor uncertainty that has dragged its stock price down over 55% since late March.

Coinbase recorded the majority of its $802.6 million in revenue last quarter–over 80%–from transaction fees on sales and exchanges of cryptocurrency. That’s down 61% from the corresponding 2021 quarter and 35% less than Q1.

Analysts had predicted revenue of $868.4 million for the quarter and an adjusted per share loss only about half as severe as reported. In Q2 2021, the company earned $1.6 billion.

The below-consensus revenue may have been reflected rising use of the exchange by customers who aren’t there currency trading, according to Michael Miller, an equity analyst at Morningstar. “Coinbase’s problem wasn’t so much that customers abandoned it — transacting users were essentially flat sequentially — but that there was a shift toward non-traders, such as those involved in staking.”

Despite the flood of red ink, Coinbase has an ace in the hole: its $6.2 billion of cash in the bank, barely changed from Q1. That figure includes $362 million of stablecoin USDC.

“Coinbase is really caught out with its cost structure, and now that crypto prices have come way down, they’re in a position where they do need to cut costs pretty dramatically,” says Miller. “While they are caught out on the costs side, though, they did go into this crypto downturn with a very strong balance sheet.”

The exchange cut costs aggressively last quarter, laying off 1,100 employees, 18% of its workforce, in mid-June and reducing its marketing outlays from a high point last fall (in which it spent $14 million on a single 60-second Super Bowl ad). Operating expenses, adjusted to remove cryptocurrency impairments, fell to $1.48 billion in Q2 from more than $1.5 billion in each of the two previous quarters but were still higher than $1.3 billion a year earlier.

“Expenses haven’t come down much—they were more or less flat sequentially. Coinbase did reduce cost guidance for the rest of 2022, though,” says Miller. “It does sound like they’re comfortable with this level of losses—they were within the guardrails they set. Unless revenues decline further, I wouldn’t expect to see any further layoffs.”

Coinbase’s web engagement fell dramatically, according to data from Simliarweb: visits to coinbase.com fell 45% in June, even while U.S. sites of competitors like FTX showed them more than doubling. Moreover, Coinbase’s weekly web display ads have dropped by over 35% since early June.

“By looking at web traffic and app traffic, you just see a trend towards somewhat of a decline in engagement for cryptocurrency in general,” says David Carr, senior insights manager at Similarweb. “But for Coinbase, the decrease in the percentage of customers using the app on a regular basis and the decrease in the amount of time they spend on the app are signs of lesser enthusiasm.”

Ben Weiss, CEO of crypto financial services and Bitcoin ATM provider CoinFlip, says the market may be overly pessimistic. “I feel that the market is conflating the performance of crypto assets with the companies in the crypto ecosystem, and therefore the reduction in Coinbase stock price is possibly an overcorrection,” says Weiss. “Coinbase is a household name in the crypto space and is extremely competitive among crypto exchanges. While companies must continue to innovate to stay relevant, Coinbase is still extremely well positioned among exchanges to continue to capitalize in the crypto space.”

I am a reporter for Forbes’ Money and Markets team. Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, I currently live in New York City.

Source: Coinbase Losses Exceed Expectations As Sales Deteriorate

Critics:

Coinbase operates as a remote-first company and has no physical headquarters As part of its SEC filing to go public, the company reported 43 million verified users, 7,000 institutions, and 115,000 ecosystem partners in over 100 countries. It also reported net revenue of $1.14 billion in 2020, up from $483 million the previous year. The company also reported a net income of $322 million after posting a loss in 2019.

Out of the $782 billion worth of assets on the crypto market, some $90 billion worth is held on the Coinbase platform. As of 2018, the company offered buy/sell trading functionality in 32 countries,while the cryptocurrency wallet was available in 190 countries worldwide. In a May 2022 Form 10-Q filing, Coinbase stated that “because custodially held crypto assets may be considered to be the property of a bankruptcy estate, in the event of a bankruptcy, the crypto assets we hold in custody on behalf of our customers could be subject to bankruptcy proceedings and such customers could be treated as our general unsecured creditors“.

The “Coinbase Effect” refers to the rise in price of cryptocurrencies listed for sale on a dominant crypto exchange such as Coinbase in the days after the news becomes public. According to Barron’s, the effect of getting a cryptocurrency listed on the exchange plays a big role in what cryptocurrencies gain widespread acceptance.

On February 16, 2018, Coinbase admitted that some customers were overcharged in error for credit and debit purchases of cryptocurrencies. The problem was initiated when banks and card issuers changed the merchant category code (MCC) for cryptocurrency purchases earlier that month. This meant that cryptocurrency payments would now be processed as “cash advances”, meaning that banks and credit card issuers could begin charging customers cash advance fees for cryptocurrency purchases.

Customers who purchased cryptocurrency on their exchange between January 22 and February 11, 2018, could have been affected. At first, Visa blamed Coinbase, telling the Financial Times on February 16 that it had “not made any systems changes that would result in the duplicate transactions cardholders are reporting.” However, the latest statement from Visa and Worldpay on the Coinbase blog clarifies: “This issue was not caused by Coinbase.

In March 2018, Quartz reported that the number of monthly customer complaints against Coinbase jumped more than 100% in January of that year, to 889, citing official Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data, with more than 400 of those categorized as “money was not available when promised”.The article also noted that the company was subsequently increasing its customer service staff to reduce wait times. In December 2021, CNBC reported that Coinbase froze the cryptocurrency GYEN due to a sudden price spike, resulting in many traders losing money.

On July 22, 2022, a former Coinbase product manager, Ishan Wahi, along with Nikhil Wahi (Ishan’s brother) and Sameer Ramani (a friend), was charged in the first-ever insider trading case in cryptocurrency by prosecutors for the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission.According to the complaint filed in SEC v. Wahi, Ishan Wahi allegedly shared information that certain tokens were about to be listed by Coinbase with Nikhil Wahi and Ramani, who then allegedly acted upon that information to make trades for an alleged illicit profit in excess of $1.5 million.

According to federal prosecutors, Ishan Wahi purchased a one-way ticket to India upon being summoned by Coinbase to the company’s Seattle office for a meeting. Wahi was subsequently intercepted by law enforcement from boarding a May 16 flight to India. Coinbase’s chief security officer, Philip Martin, noted that the company provided prosecutors with information from an internal investigation.

Related contents:

Coinbase Earnings Weren’t as Bad as They Seem The Motley Fool

10:42
09:08
18:53 Thu, 11 AugBlackRock Crypto Bitcoin
18:13 Wed, 10 AugCrypto
04:23 Wed, 10 AugBusiness (US) US Economy Nasdaq

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